Emotional Design

Emotional Design is about designing products, services, and experiences to achieve specific emotional outcomes, usually positive. The bottom line is that emotions are a big part of our brain’s system for driving behavior.┬áMost of the time, the reason people are trying to do something at all (including engaging in your product/service) is to improve their wellbeing. There are several really important reasons that designing for emotion is critical: Generally, achieving goals doesn’t create the emotional improvement we expected. (See “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert.) Generally, it’s possible to greatly improve emotions without achieving any outward goals. Negative emotions consume people’s pool of willpower & patience with your product. This means that your product could be excellent at achieving it’s stated purpose, but still not feel great to use, which means people won’t use it much. In fact, I very often see products making design choices that actually negatively impact the user’s mood for no good reason. My favorite example is the feedback on form fields. Here’s a sample from Southwest.com: Here’s what drives me crazy about this feedback: I’ve simply forgotten to┬ácomplete a form field, there’s not need to throw a fit: Don’t use tons of red. Red = police lights, stop signs, blood & errors on school papers. This is not a big deal. Don’t use exclamation marks – especially not two. This is not a big deal. Don’t invoke the triangle warning road-sign. There is nothing dangerous to warn me about. Don’t use interjections, like Oops (“meaningless words that express strong feelings”) especially in a giant, bold, red font with an exclamation mark. Don’t include intimidating...